|Texas Gov. Rick Perry|
The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rick Perry epitomizes both the arrogance and hypocrisy which has become the cornerstone of the U.S. political system. Perry can never stop bragging about all of the wonderful things he has done for Texas' economy, and he's promised to do the same to the rest of America. So let's have a closer look at the "economic miracle" that is Texas. Are some Texans getting rich? You bet! If you're an oil baron or a plantation owner, life has never been better. But what if you're not? Suddenly life isn't nearly as good.
I came across a recent article talking about a relatively new phenomenon in once prosperous America: suburban poverty . Remember all those years (and eventually decades) of highway building and suburban "sprawl" in the U.S.? It was all to "get away from" the rampant poverty inside American cities. What we have once again is proof that you (literally) can't run away from your problems. As corporate oligarchs squeeze the last drops of wealth from ordinary Americans, the "norm" of the middle class has been replaced by "working poor." And no state has more "working poor" than Texas. The article I noted above created a "top-10" (or rather bottom 10) of the U.S. suburbs with the highest poverty rates. Only California was able to match Texas -- each with three of the 10 worst. However, I award Texas the title of "suburban poverty champion" for having both the poorest and the second poorest suburbs in all of the United States. Having seen this statistical data, it should also come as no surprise that Texas leads the U.S. in having the largest number of Americans on "food stamps." It turns out that Texas' "secret" for making a few people very, very rich is to make a very, very large number of other people poor. And once Perry had created all those poor people, he had an "answer" for that too. Just hold out your hands, and wait for the federal government to pay up. That's the other half of the "economic miracle" in Texas: grabbing for handouts from the federal government at any/every opportunity (while lecturing both other states and the federal government about their lack of "fiscal responsibility"). Rather despicable hypocrisy coming from a champion panhandler. Not only does Texas lead the U.S. in mooching food stamp money from the federal government, it also leads the nation in mooching subsidies for agriculture. While crop prices are near/at all-time highs, and ordinary Americans face crippling food bills, Texas' plantation owners are siphoning $billions more every year out of the pockets of ordinary Americans, so that their (merely) fat profits become truly obscene. Indeed, many Texans may not have needed food stamps if they weren't forced to subsidize the agriculture oligarchs. Sadly, I was unable to discover precisely how much Texas' oil barons mooch from the government each year in this "Texas-style capitalism." However, with the oil barons being second only to the bankers in playing puppet master with U.S. politicians, we know there are lots and lots of handouts. An MSNBC analyst estimated that the oil and gas parasites suck back about 88% of all federal subsidies. Thus, even Texas plantation owners can only gaze on in envy at the handouts which the Texas oil barons receive. This leads us to one obvious question for Mr. Perry: how can he possibly bring the Texas "economic miracle" to all of America? Apart from the fact that not all Americans might agree with the Perry "vision" of a small number of obscenely wealthy oligarchs surrounded by armies of poor but loyal serfs, there is a more fundamental problem Perry faces in bringing Texas-style capitalism to Washington: who will supply Perry with the handouts he needs to make his model "work," when he suddenly has no "federal government" to mooch from? Given what the last Texas president was able to "achieve" for the United States, I had assumed that the next Texas president would be elected at a time considerably past "when hell freezes over." I obviously failed to take into account the porous sieves which Americans use for "memories." Indeed, as Americans once again mull over whether to elect "Tweedle-Dee" or "Tweedle-Dumb," it is as pathetic as it is tragic how few can remember that all they have gotten from either (for decades now) is betrayal. While American voters have demonstrated a propensity to pick the "most worst" rather than the "least worst" option for their "leader," it appears that in the next election, they could be "off the hook" in terms of blame for the outcome. In a Rick Perry vs. Barack Obama political campaign, it would be impossible to make an argument that one was "worse than the other." "None of the above" has never offered such a strong candidacy in any other so-called democracy.
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